The Longest Ride (2015) - Multi Generational Story of Two Extraordinary Love Stories

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Riddled with clichés or not, I still manage to eventually see the latest Nicholas Sparks productions. He had two in theaters this year alone, this is the first I’ve seen. That’s for two reasons, one being I actually read the book on which this is based. Without further ado, it’s time to find out how this one stacked up against some of my prior Sparks favorites.  

One year ago, Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) nearly died. As a professional bull rider it’s not if you get hurt, it’s when. Tonight is his first night back on the rodeo scene and the stress of returning to the place he nearly died gets to him. But it’s on this night that he meets her...
Sophia (Britt Robertson) is a college senior whose sole goal is to graduate and jet off to New York for the promise of the prestigious job that awaits her. The only reason the New Jersey native is in North Carolina is thanks to her scholarship. But meeting Luke at the rodeo she was talked into attending might change things… especially after a spontaneous date. Then on their way back to Sophia’s dorm, the pair rescue an elderly man (Alan Alda) whose car broke through a guardrail and is about to burst into flames. Ira Levinson’s integration into Sophia’s life changes everything…  

This is the one Sparks production I don’t necessarily like better than the novel. The film gets a lot right, but it also failed in one way (early on) that might not be the best mistake to make. Most of the cast is amazing! I liked Scott as Luke, and of course, his good looks match the image his character is supposed to have sway to. The rest of the cast is really quite well cast as well including Jack Hutton and Oona Chaplin (The Crimson Field) stepping into the shoes of the 1940’s love story we follow.  But, I wasn’t 100% sold on Britt Robertson as the leading lady. Early on, she seems immature, whereas I never felt that in Book Sophia. As the film progresses, I liked her better and felt she kind of eased into the role, which is nice. Not to be forgotten, we also get a glimpse of what Melissa Benoist can do. She’s CBS’ new Supergirl of course.  

As a love story, the novel also has an advantage in telling Luke and Sophia’s story. Their romance felt more “organic” and the pace was honest and true to who the characters were. Meaning, neither Luke nor Sophia were particularly irresponsible people, so how their story progressed was genuine, sweet and believable. The film rushes them a smidgeon. Considering its time constraints, this is understandable just not always respected. The greatest improvement is Ira’s entrance into Sophia’s life. His story is much improved on screen. Book Ira remembered everything while isolated on the side of the road, Movie Ira was able to spend time with people, not just his memories and the unpacking of his love story is much prettier because of this. The bond he has with Sophia is more what I anticipated of the book, so seeing someone take this tract (in scripting) with Ira’s story makes all the difference (especially where his pursuit of Ruth is concerned; it’s even sweeter). The shifting timelines and parallel stories work in perfect synchronization instead of against each other as a result of this.  

Perhaps not my favorite adaptation of this NYT Best-selling author’s box office pictures, The Longest Ride was still enjoyable. The script softens Luke’s troubled home life, which is a pleasant change though it also fails to explain the driving reasons behind his pursuit of a career that could kill him, plus omits another pretty big arc from the novel. Scenery is gorgeous and the romance of the film as a whole is beautiful. Journeying through the lives of these characters shows us a lot of swoon-y moments and sweet encounters in turn. Flaws or no, I still liked this romantic drama. It’s quieter than I remember most of the prior Sparks adaptations, with an end result of a slow-moving story. I’ll certainly be re-watching this in time and found much “good” in its letter to the interested viewer. If you like these adaptations, I’d recommend you check it out. Sure, you’re likely to find faults – similar or differing from mine, but as an adaptation, overall, I think it ranks better than my impression of the novel. Considering the quibbles I had with the book, this is enough for me to have enjoyed seeing The Longest Ride quite a lot. Imperfect though it is, that’s part of what makes the story “real.”

(Content: there are two sex scenes, both feature removal of clothing and side nudity – the first involves the pair undressing and a shower. We see a full back shot of male nudity. There’s very little profanity, and what there is, is more of the garden variety. The film is rated PG13.)


  1. Gabrielle got this for me for my birthday in addition to the book which I haven't read yet.
    I watched this movie a few wks ago with my parents and they both teared up. I cried at the end and multiple times. ;) But the during those two scenes you mentioned under Content, well, let's just say my cheeks flamed because the DVD remote I was in control over decided not to work at those times. With my parents in the room. So that mortifying memory will be associated with the movie...
    But I adored the movie. I prefered and was more attached to the 1940s storyline and characters, and Scott Eastwood was perfect. Having known very little about the story prior, I expected his character to be super arrogant and cocky so imagine my surprise and delight when he was basically a bull-riding, Southern Captain America gentleman. ;) LOL

    1. How very fun. Gabrielle has great taste. :) (Ps; she liked this then too?)

      I really did enjoy the film despite my petty complaints. Oddly enough, I liked Book Sophia and Luke better whereas Movie Ira and Ruth's stories were far better represented in the film. That alone makes me lean more towards liking the film. I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and would agree; the 40s story was charming.

      Sadly, every romance film "has" to include some content that well, most families I know, don't appreciate. It's the way of Hollywood, I guess.

      I love how you described Scott's Luke! That is exactly what he is... and hooray for that. I do adore Captain America. If you read the book, I hope you enjoy. :)

      Thanks for sharing your experiences watching this one. Always fun to chat with others who've seen the latest films. :)

      (And, in closing, I hope you're doing okay, Meghan. I think of you often when seeing your IG posts or seeing Rachel's social medias mention you. Wishing you all kinds of good wishes and a speedy recovery. :D)

  2. I watched the movie on the plane and I wish the whole story had been about Ira and Ruth. There was much more depth, emotion and maturity to that storyline than Luke and Sophia. I agree that the casting of Sophia didn't fit well (and I haven't even read the book!) and couldn't help feel at times that I was watching a movie intended more for teens. I would give the movie a C+, but if it had all been Ruth and Ira my rating would probably be much higher. I feel like Nicholas Sparks is trying to appeal to two demographics at once and the result ended up being lukewarm on both fronts (too much of one and not enough of another). I really enjoyed your review Rissi!

    1. Ruth and Ira's story is much, much improved here, in my opinion. I thought theirs had more "room" to breathe in a sense whereas, in the novel, it was far too... well, stifled and unfortunately, boring. Here, it's sincere and romantic, in the best sense.

      Britt improved as the film went on, though in the beginning, she was too immature to suit me. But perhaps that's just because I adored the chemistry between her and Luke in the book. :)

      Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting, Lydia! Always appreciate getting your opinions and thoughts. :)


Have a thought? Don't be shy, go ahead and leave one... or two... or three! I reply to every comment. If you're new to the blog, please don't hesitate to introduce yourself and your blog - we love chatting around here!

Feedback and every comment is appreciated and read - I always leave a response; your opinions are respected and I ask that you show mine the same courtesy.

(If you post under “anonymous,” please leave a name. If you don't have a Google account, you can type your name into the Name/URL and if you have no site, just leave "URL" blank.)

If you are still reading my ramblings, thank you for following this little blog and for being one of its supporters. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of you, friends!

Latest Instagrams

© Finding Wonderland. Design by FCD.